The Senate today passed a bill that registrars wished was law Tuesday, during the GOP presidential primary.
It gives cities and towns the flexibility to reduce the number of polling places. State law prohibited registrars from consolidating polling places this week, even knowing that turnout for the uncontested primary was going to be dismal.
The following is cribbed from the Office of Legislative Research summary of the bill.
The bill establishes procedures and a timeframe for reducing the number of primary polling places. Specifically:
1. at least 60 days before every primary, the registrars must designate the polling place(s), which may be fewer in number than were used at the last election or will be used at the upcoming election;
2. between 45 and 60 days before the primary, the registrars must notify the secretary of the state and candidates of the change or changes;
3. by 4:00 p.m. on the 30th day before the primary, a candidate who objects to the change must notify the secretary of the state in writing of his or her objection (the secretary must keep the objection confidential);
4. the secretary must promptly notify the registrars of any candidate’s objection; and,
5. no later than 21 days before the primary, registrars must notify, by mail, each elector whose polling place has changed.